Friday, March 3, 2017


A big mistake that too many novices attempt is to “go big” and begin writing a Feature Film with no Outline, no proper Software, and no working knowledge of Structure, Character development, or even formatting.

My advice is this: start small, short and simple.

Write a Short Film, no more than five pages and focus on no more than a couple of Characters.

This will allow you to pay attention to the details without getting overwhelmed.

Figure out what Genre attracts your attention the most and download a few Feature Film Screenplays (in that Genre, preferably) to see what they look like. It used to be a task in itself to track down the precious official Screenplay of a Movie, and you often had to overpay for it.

Now it is ridiculously simple and free (for most) to search for Screenplays within a database of thousands.

Once you download a PDF (the most common file format for a Script) and flip through it, you will get the idea even if you have never read one before.

Make sure to search out Screenplays rather than Shooting Scripts for their readability (we will discuss the elements of a Shooting Script in Pre-Production).

With the Screenplay, the biggest thing to pay attention is to the overall flow of it: how is the Dialogue formatted?

How is the Action described? What goes in a Scene Heading? Then recreate that formatting to the best of your ability using whatever Word Processor (or even Typewriter) that you have access to.

Write a five-page (i.e., five minute) Script with Scene Headings, Action, Dialogue and maybe even a Transition or two.

In the end, it won’t really matter what you end up doing with it, because nobody is going to see this Script.

Not this draft, and not at all until you learn more about Screenwriting, anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, the premise might be brilliant, but I can guarantee that you didn’t nail the details if you have never written a Script before.

And rule #1 in Screenwriting is don’t show it to somebody too early.

In this case, if it’s your first attempt at Screenwriting, you will not show it to anybody.

But this is not an exercise in futility, I promise.

Now you will be doing it for real, and on a larger scale, if your ultimate goal is to create a Feature Film.

You have gotten past the first hurdle of seeing what a Script really looks like, and re-creating that format has got to be the toughest part of Screenwriting, right? Well, not exactly.


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